I’d been down this same path at least ten times in the past few days. I’d got to know it. The little twists and turns, the rocks and the crunch of leaves underfoot.
But right now I am in the dark. I can barely make out the shape of trees against the night sky. The moon hasn’t risen yet but it will be full and maybe the clouds will clear.
The path seems different, it seems like anything could happen. The traits I’d remembered have changed and the ways that I thought I would go are gone. There is a particular place I wanted to get to but I realise now that I have no idea where that could be. I’ve lost track.
I feel a sense of panic, although nothing is wrong. I stop where I am and I close my eyes. My senses are alert and I feel a wildness in me. I breathe deeply a few times, reminding myself that nothing is wrong.
I hear the river. I follow the sound of the river because that seems good to me. The water soothes me and tells me that there is always flow.
I sit by the river for many hours on that dark night. In the soft arm of an old hazel tree that rocks me to sleep. The moonlight gathers in a white light pool in front of me. I hear creatures rustling, I feel fear and deep peace take their turns in waves.
As the sun rises, the world has changed. The river shows me her face in the pink light of the morning and the hazel tree bows down in acknowledgment. I step into the river and bathe surrounded by light.
And this is the gift of darkness – it shows us a mirror that the daylight cannot.
Whether we choose to look into that mirror in nature or in our own psyche, or both. The dark nights of the soul are essential and are not to be shied away from or denied. If we are willing to welcome them, there are huge gifts.
Stop still and breathe.
Remember that though you can’t see there is wisdom here.
Know that the paths you thought you should take are gone.
Know that new paths will appear.
Morning will come and a new perspective with it.
Know that the waves of feeling will pass.
Remember that there is flow even when you can’t see it.
Your fear is a signpost, allow it to wash over you – you are on track.
When we are stripped of the familiar and the comfort of all that we know, there is space for new paradigms to be born.